India’s newly crowned World U-20 champion in women’s 400m, Hima Das will focus on individual sprint (200m and 400m) events during the next month’s Asian Games in Jakarta and skip the newly-introduced mixed-team 4x400m relay.
The 18-year-old from Assam is India’s fastest female quarter-miler with a personal best of 51.13 secs clocked in July in Guwahati.
India are defending champions in women’s 4x400m relay and the coach believes her presence in the team will make a big difference. “She will be anchoring the women’s relay,” he added.
The national 400m runners including members of the relay teams (men and women’s) are currently training in Jablonec in Czech Republic and will directly travel to Indonesia from Europe. The group also includes the 400m hurdles.
After an exhausting world meet in Tampere, Finland, where Hima ran three quality races including the gold-winning run of 51.46 secs, the teenager has got a short break from competitions. “There is no injury worries but she has been given a break so that she can recover. With barely a month left for the Asian Games, we have also decided that Hima will avoid local competitions,” the coach said.
Coach Basant Singh also believes Hima would further improve her timing in Indonesia. “She might break the 51-second barrier in 400m and there are chances she might break the 23-secs barrier in the 200m,” he said. Hima’s personal best in 200m is 23.10 secs.
Manjeet Kaur has the 400m national record of 51.05 secs set in 2004 in Chennai. She is also the only Indian athlete to have clocked sub-50 secs at a relay leg during the semi-finals of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
This weekend, Indian athletes will compete in a national track and field competition in the Czech Republic.